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Shelly:  My child is in the 2nd grade and has missed enough school for my husband and I to receive a letter from the school that she is classified as a truant child. Just after receiving 1st “warning letter” and a meeting with the VP, we found out from the teacher that another child in her class was bothering her by continually kicking her chair each day she went to school. She was absent for two more days due to a fever. Then we received the 2nd letter stating she is now truant. We live in California and am going to meet with the Vice Principal again. What can I do? I do not feel we (parents) or my child should be punished like this. I am beyond angry. Please help if you can. Thank you.

  1. Hello-

    Also have a child who is in special needs, she was also truant this year and last year. when I tried speaking with the IEP team to find a solution to this he told me that it was EV, got to add an accommodation to her IEP to protect her from truants thing. but according to the department of education In Sacramento it absolutely was not illegal and was actually denying her FAPE. Unfortunately, this did not make a difference in her IEP or the final decision of the School District. they decided to send me a PWN denying an accommodation. I requested to protect my child from being truant. I have decided to ask her psychologist to write notes every time she is absent or very late to class due to her disability. I have also found a website move on.org.

  2. Shelly – If worst comes to worst and you get investigated for truancy, don’t worry. You will be found to be excellent parents, and the whole thing will just have been a colossal waste of everyone’s time. Can you get support from your daughter’s primary care doctor? The doctor can give you a note when your daughter is sick or troubled in mind, to present to the school. The doctor can also write a polite but assertive letter asking that the school provide more protection from bullying for your daughter, since children with special needs are more often targeted than other children, statistically, and are emotionally more vulnerable, and more support for her special needs. Give the doctor a written list of the specific supports she needs but has not been getting, so the doctor can include these points in the letter.
    For a quick solution to the immediate problem of the chair kicking – would the teacher be willing to rearrange the students’ seating?
    Once you and the school are rowing together, if school reluctance is still a problem, this is something your daughter can work on in therapy.

  3. Shelly – if you have not done so, you need to write a letter to the school that describes the problems your daughter is having. When you write letters that clarify events and what you were told, you minimize misunderstandings and protect your child’s interests. Can you tell us a little more about your child – age, presenting problems, your concerns, school’s concerns?
    I am confused by this statement “we found out from the teacher that another child in her class was bothering her by continually kicking her chair each day she went to school.” Did your daughter refuse to return to school after this child kicked her chair? Did the other child’s behavior cause your child to be absent?
    If you need help writing letters, read Chapters 22, 23 and 24 about writing letters in From Emotions to Advocacy. These chapters have sample letters that you can tailor to your needs: https://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/feta2/feta2.htm
    we have a page on Wrightslaw that has info about how to write letters and sample letters for different situations. Take a look-
– See more at: https://www.wrightslaw.com/info/ltrs.index.htm

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